Modern European Prints Featured in Ray Drew Gallery Exhibit


The Ladder lithograph by Marc Chagall

The Ladder lithograph by Marc Chagall

Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University presents an art exhibit, Modern European Prints, in the Ray Drew Gallery through Feb. 13.

Robert Bell, a Santa Fe art collector, patron, author and publisher, will give a gallery talk about the exhibit Jan. 26 at 4 p.m.

Since 2001, Bell has donated more than 2,000 fine art prints to Highlands and teaches a popular print lecture series.

“This exhibit gives the community and our Highlands students the opportunity to see the work from some of the giants of European art from the 20th century,” said Bob Read, Ray Drew Gallery curator. “The exhibit features 30 lithographs and etchings – printmaking techniques that date back to the 15th century.”

The gallery is in the university’s Donnelly library at 802 National Ave.

The four artists in the exhibit were contemporaries and worked in Paris at the same time. The featured artists are Alberto Giacometti of Switzerland (1901-1966), Marc Chagall of Russia (1887-1985), Marcel Gromarie of France (1892-1971), and Joan Miró of Spain (1893-1983).

“These four artists represent an excellent cross section of 20th century modernism, with the  exhibit illustrating a radical departure from 19th century styles such as realism and impressionism,” Bell said. “Miró, Giacometti and Gromarie were members of the surrealism movement and believed you should get your inspiration from the subconscious and dream world. Chagall’s work has elements of surrealism, but his images were influenced more from growing up in a small rural Russian village and his Jewish heritage.”

Bell said there was an explosion of styles in the 20th century, with artists likes the ones in the exhibit following their own individual paths.

He added that none of the artists in the exhibit were satisfied with the status quo, and wanted people to see commonplace images like people, landscapes and animals in an entirely different light.

“Miró was one of the founders of the surrealism movement and was a prolific and experimental printmaker whose work is saturated with color. Gromarie’s black-and-white etchings of nudes and landscapes use high density of lines, resulting in strong images. Chagall’s symbolic, dreamlike color lithographs in this exhibit are primarily from his superb Bible series. Giogometti’s black and white portrait lithographs give a sense of a wire-constructed image and are reminiscent of his sculptures.”

Bell said the prints in the show are original graphic works from four artists who are better known for their work in other mediums like painting and sculpture.

“One of the reason painters and sculptors are drawn to printmaking is that the techniques allow them to experiment more with color, pushing the envelope in their artistic expression,” Bell said.

Another topic of Bell’s gallery talk is the history of printmaking.

The hours for Ray Drew Gallery are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and 1 – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.